Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
All right, I’m not jumping down any one’s throat here on the vote count, but I would really like an honest explanation how this worked out.
In the unofficial numbers tweeted by a Sun reporter (which we posted below), and I do realize they are unofficial, there are a couple numbers which are different than the final spreadsheet the Lowell Sun posted later on.
While the total of votes and ballots cast are the same in both images, the vote totals for two specific candidates differ. In other words, the newer spreadsheet from the Sun has Derek Mitchell with 32 fewer votes than the older, unofficial tweeted printout, and Vesna Nuon has 32 more in the new sheet than in that earlier tweeted image.
A simple transcribing error by the Sun or whoever gave them those original unofficial numbers doesn’t explain this. If that were to happen, you would see someone’s numbers being different between unofficial and the second Sun spreadsheet, not vote totals for two candidates moving exactly the same number, one up and one down. And with optical scanners, the printouts at the end from the machines might be unofficial, but really, they’re usually damned accurate. So…what happened? Inquiring minds want to know. I assume there’s no hand-counting going on, except as spot random auditing (do we even do that?).
I’m sure there’s an explanation, but I’d like to see someone figure out what that is and tell us. It’s always best when we can have full confidence in our voting systems and this just seemed weird.
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Another minor error in the Sun’s more official, newer spreadsheet is that the total votes cast for 5-2 is off by three votes (listed as 659 when it should be 662), which you could account for if their spreadsheet failed to count the 3 write-ins for that precinct. Since the box with that erroneous number has a green triangle in its corner, which is likely indicating that the Excel formula that added that column is out of pattern with the rest of the ones on that row (an Excel feature to help you see that something might be wrong), this is 99% the likely scenario.
(By the way, I’m writing this post, but it’s really the Mr. who did all this leg work. Him and his spreadsheets. He even has set up conditional formatting to indicate the strength of each candidate’s showing in each precinct. I kid you not. Spreadsheet geeks…)
As much as it pains me to give any blog pixels to the Cub…
Now that we have the questionnaires published, I wanted to talk about who I will be voting for.
I come from a voting family; my mom took me right when I was 18 to register, and I remember her voting, including in local Selectmen races in our rincky dink little New Hampshire town. I suppose she was a very big influence on me that way. Except, she was always very mum on who she voted for. I think, for her, it’s a private matter to keep to one’s self.
I’ve never felt quite that way about it, and especially since getting active in politics myself, I find myself wanting to talk about who I’m voting for and more importantly, why. Maybe no one cares who I’ll be checking off on my ballot on Tuesday. I don’t know. But if I want certain candidates to win, I’ve got to talk about them, don’t I? So skip to the flip and I’ll go over my ballot…I guess call them personal endorsements. (more…)
So here it is folks. The pièce de résistance. Official Left in Lowell candidate questionnaire answers! They are on their own web page, which you can find here.
On a side note, I really REALLY like this format. Comparing lots of apples to lots of other apples, and a few places for candidates to show off their knowledge. This could be the format going forward. Also, lots and lots of props to my wonderful husband who whipped the submitted answers into a format that I could literally copy and paste into the page for the data table. Love you hon!!!
Thanks also to our amazing readers for a very large chunk of the questions. Crowd sourcing works!
I am considering reopening up for submissions after the preliminary, since my timeframe was crushed a bit leading up to next Tuesday’s election. The unfair part is that anyone submitting answers after publication is getting an advantage of seeing what everyone else said; but if I were to notate who passed answers in after the prelim, would you want to see more answers from more candidates? Honest question. I’m good either way.
I wanted to publicly list the candidates who’ve sent in completed responses in case you are a candidate who did send one in but somehow it didn’t come through (it’s happened in at least one case) for whatever reason.
Here is who I have:
Make sure you send your file immediately to firstname.lastname@example.org (don’t forget the E on Lynne!) if yours bounced somehow and you are not on this list. We’re formatting the answers as we speak. Thanks!
Update: As I suspected, there was at least one other candidate whose questionnaire I was expecting back, who is not on this list but did get theirs in. Also another file SNAFU for another candidate I should have caught earlier and didn’t, so I’m waiting for that file to come in. By tomorrow early AM I expect to be published with the final questions. The good news? Wicked awesome yes/no data table complete with sorting by question and pop-ups for any question a candidate wanted to explain!
I’ve gotten a number of returns on questionnaires, but I just wanted to remind candidates you have until 5pm tomorrow (Thursday) night to pass them in! You can download the Excel or Word files here.
It’s a good opportunity to tell voters where you stand so take advantage!
Update: As I was saying, we should look out for this sort of thing.
“Those Were The Days”
by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse
Boy, the way Glen Miller played. Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days.
Didn’t need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days.
And you know who you were then, girls were girls and men were men.
Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
People seemed to be content. Fifty dollars paid the rent.
Freaks were in a circus tent. Those were the days.
Take a little Sunday spin, go to watch the Dodgers win.
Have yourself a dandy day that cost you under a fin.
Hair was short and skirts were long. Kate Smith really sold a song.
I don’t know just what went wrong. Those Were The Days.
City Council candidate questionnaires went out last week, by mail since that’s the fairest way to reach everyone at the same time. But returning the questionnaires is an electronic effort this year - with 22 potential answers (one can dream!) I don’t want to have to transcribe, check and double-check returned paperwork. It’s much easier to have the data electronically.
Deadline (reminder to you candidates!) is Thursday Sept 19th at 5pm. I’ve begun receiving some answers already and I think you’ll be pleased with the format. It’ll be much easier to compare and contrast candidates.
If you want to check out the questionnaire, I’ve put them online for candidates to download at: candidates.leftinlowell.com. As previously mentioned, the bulk of the questions are simple yes/no questions, with five essay questions (the first being a space candidates can elaborate on any answer or skipped answer in the yes/no portion). I’ve culled the questions from among us editors as well as lots of great stuff from readers.
Once the deadline is past, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to compile them quickly. If I have time I’ll provide the yes/no portion as a sortable HTML table so you can see how each answer stacks up among the candidates. If not, then I will provide a spreadsheet of the data so those who know how to use Excel can do that on your own.
Thanks for all your suggestions and I hope you’ll find this voter guide useful. For any candidate who does not return the questionnaire, LiL reserves the right to fill in some yes/no answers, based on your stated positions or past votes. We think voters deserve to know where you stand. LiL will indicate which answers we fill in of course, if we do so. We suggest all candidates return the questionnaire, because no matter how you you feel about LiL, this is not about us, but about the voters, and we hope all candidates respect the voters enough to do the minimum amount of work this questionnaire requires.
With that, let’s get excited about voting!
It’s hard to find the words for the stupid going on right in front of me as I watch tonight’s City Council meeting. CC. Rodney Elliot has yet again decided the laws of the Commonwealth do not apply to him.
He tried to get a suspension of the rules over the report released (I think, yesterday) regarding a negative federal audit of the LHA. This is, of course, long after the Friday deadline to get things on the City Council agenda.
Smelling some juicy poo that he could fling at any number of his enemies (the Mayor, the Lynch administration, whoever), Elliot decided that open meeting laws in no way trump his need to scream like a tiny tiny child over the issue. When an item is not able to get on the agenda, you can, in a time sensitive situation, suspend rules to discuss something not on the agenda. This is particularly supposed to be reserved for things with real deadlines. This method is not supposed to be abused for bringing up breaking news before half the city or Councilors have a chance to even see it (never mind the LHA Board which meets this week and has had no time to properly address it).
Let’s examine the reasons behind not popping impromptu items up in a meeting. They revolve around the open meeting laws and giving residents and Councilors alike enough time to review said issue, a heads-up, if you will. Agendas get published in a timely manner ahead of a public meeting for a reason - it’s not just an exercise in paperwork. This is self-evident reasoning, as well as codified in actual state freaking LAW.
After the Chair (Mayor Murphy) ruled that the motion to suspend the rules was illegal on the merits, Elliot just did not shut up. He did his usual YOU DISGUST ME SIR routine, and the Mayor appealed to the city solicitor, who said the Chair ruled, and that was the ruling. Elliot challenged the Chair’s ability to rule on the issue! Um, did you miss the part where he’s the Chair? And then, the crowning crescendo of utter audacity, Elliot calls, “Roll call!” In the same tone you hear the Chair say roll call. Not in a tone demanding a roll call. Not in a tone asking for a roll call. Calling FOR a roll call. Which. Is. Not. His. Job.
The thing that gets me, every time he pulls this crap, the thing that galls me, astounds me, and makes me want to punch my perfectly good walls until they resemble Swiss cheese, is that Elliot has been a Councilor for years. YEARS. It’s not like he does not know how Robert’s Rules work. It’s not like he’s a n00b in operating under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts General Laws governing municipal meetings, or has zero experience with Open Meeting laws.
He just. Doesn’t. Give a shit.
There’s more to this circus, including Kennedy dragging it back up later, and I will get you video. If you missed this tonight, you will want to watch it.
Kinda cool, just saw it in my inbox, and might be of interest to those who want to meet Stacie Hargis before the preliminary:
Stacie has been starting conversations with fellow Lowellians to hear about issues that are most important to them. Stacie would like to hear about issues that affect YOU, your friends, and loved ones while supporting locally owned small businesses. Stacie will be at different locations throughout the month of September and encourages you to come join in on the conversation about how we can grow our community wealth.
Join Stacie while she gets a coffee at 7:30-8:30 at:
- Sowy’s Bakery, 474 Merrimack St. on September 4th
- Donut Shack, 487 Westford St. on September 11th
- Top Donut, 700 Aiken St. on September 18th
Update: I’ve made a correction above, Sowy’s Bakery is at 474 Merrimack St, NOT East Merrimack. I copied and pasted direct from the email, but someone else pointed this out to me (thanks!) so at least my post will be correct.
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